George Harrison was the shy lead guitarist of the Beatles who added a spiritual pilgrim's sensibility to the band's massive cultural impact.
The songwriter and singer of such Beatles songs as "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Something," "Here Comes the Sun" and "Taxman," Harrison struggled for his own spotlight in the celebrated company of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
After the Beatles broke up in 1970, Harrison embarked on a solo career that was viewed as spotty even by fans and intriguing even by his critics. The most acclaimed chapter of his post-Beatles career remains the first: the 1970 three-LP epic "All Things Must Pass," which included the humanistic hits "My Sweet Lord," "Isn't It a Pity" and "What Is Life." A year later, he burnished that success by engineering the landmark charity effort "The Concert for Bangla Desh." The two-night show in New York featured Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and others and became a template for the now-familiar concept of the all-star rock fundraiser.
The 1969 hit "Something" would become a defining triumph for Harrison even as the Beatles were winding down. In just the first decade after its release, more than 150 different artists would record their own versions of "Something" and, to date, the only Beatles song available in more versions is McCartney's forlorn classic "Yesterday." Frank Sinatra, an unkind critic of the Beatles in their earlier years, was among the many artists who recorded "Something" and he praised it as "the greatest love song of the past 50 years." But, in an unintended but painful reminder of Harrison's struggle for acknowledgment, Sinatra would also introduce the song in concert as "one of my favorite Lennon and McCartney songs."
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